This one pot chicken broccoli and rice casserole is a cheesy and comforting dinner with chicken, broccoli, creamy rice and lots of cheese. Sear some chicken breasts or use a shortcut method with shredded rotisserie chicken for an even quicker dinner.
Today we’re making a one pot chicken broccoli and rice casserole recipe that serves up a warm and hearty dinner filled with nostalgic childhood flavors. The bottom layer is a creamy mix of seared chicken, tender broccoli, rice and a generous amount of cheddar cheese. Add more cheddar on top before baking for a cheesy golden brown crust and you have a cozy meal that’s perfect for feeding a family.
There’s no need to pre-cook the rice, chicken, or broccoli – everything is done with the convenience of one pot so there are fewer dishes to wash. This recipe is sure to become a family favorite, even with the pickiest of eaters. It’s also a great way to sneak in some veggies for the kids! You can make this chicken broccoli and rice casserole easier by using store-bought rotisserie chicken or frozen broccoli instead.
If you’re in the mood for another one pot rice meal, try this smoked sausage and rice recipe. For other family-favorite recipes using shortcut ingredients, try this slow cooker chicken and dumplings, slow cooker chicken and gravy, slow cooker brown sugar chicken, or this Mississippi pot roast.
Ingredients in Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
ONE POT CHICKEN BROCCOLI RICE CASSEROLE RECIPE TIPS
- Chicken – I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into bite-sized pieces. You can substitute this with about 2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken instead for an easier time.
When searing your own chicken, you can also add more flavor with Italian seasoning, thyme, oregano, paprika, or smoked paprika.
- Onions and garlic – Fresh is always better because of the flavor, but you can substitute them with onion and garlic powder. If substituting, skip the sauteing stage and add the onion and garlic powder with the uncooked rice and melted butter.
- Rice – Any kind of long-grain or extra long-grain white rice will work. This recipe measures rice with a standard-sized US cup and not with a rice cup. 1 rice cup is about 3/4 a US cup of measurement, so they are not equal. You could try using other kinds of rice but will need to figure out the rice-to-liquid ratio. This recipe has only been tested with long-grain white rice. Rinse the rice to clean it beforehand and drain fully before using.
1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice won’t look like much and you might worry it’s not enough for a casserole. Once cooked it will double or triple in size, enough to feed 6-8 people.
- Salt – There’s no need to season the casserole with salt since there’s plenty of sodium from the cream of chicken soup, chicken broth and cheddar cheese.
- Chicken broth – Use low-sodium chicken broth so the casserole isn’t too salty. If you prefer to cut down the sodium even more, substitute the chicken broth with water.
- Broccoli – I used fresh whole broccoli florets but you can also use frozen broccoli. If your fresh broccoli has big florets, cut them into manageable bite-size pieces. I used about 4 cups of tightly packed broccoli cut into medium-sized florets. You will need less if your broccoli is chopped or if you’re using frozen broccoli.
- Whole vs chopped broccoli – I prefer bite-sized broccoli in my casserole but you can chop up the broccoli if you want a more even spread. Try roughly chopping the broccoli after cooking and mixing them in with the rice and the rest of the ingredients.
When adding fresh uncooked broccoli to the rice, toss them in and cover immediately – there is no need to stir. The broccoli will steam for 5 minutes on top of the rice and we will mix it later.
Can I Use Frozen Broccoli?
I’ve only tested the recipe with fresh broccoli but you can use frozen broccoli as well. Since frozen broccoli is already blanched and partially cooked, it won’t need as much time to cook as fresh broccoli. I suggest defrosting and thawing the frozen broccoli first then patting it dry. Stir it in with the cooked rice, cooked chicken, chicken soup, sour cream and cheese in step 8. The broccoli should warm up and finish cooking while baking in the oven.
- Resting the rice – This step gives you fluffy, evenly cooked rice and should not be skipped. Letting the rice rest lets the starches cool down and gives the grains time to firm up. This simple step avoids mushy rice.
- Chicken soup – I used cream of chicken soup but you can substitute it with other condensed soup flavors like cream of mushroom, or cream of broccoli.
- Milk – Milk dilutes the casserole since it thickens up with the addition of sour cream and cream of chicken soup.
- Sour cream – This adds tons of flavor! Feel free to skip this ingredient if you’re not a fan of sour cream though.
- Cheddar cheese – I used a cheddar Jack blend for the recipe but you can try sharp cheddar for an even bolder flavor or substitute cheddar with other cheeses like Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Colby.
- Baking – This is a one pot recipe but if you don’t own an oven-proof skillet or have one that is big enough, you can transfer all the ingredients to a 9×13 casserole dish for the baking. Cover with foil and bake according to the recipe time. Since most of the ingredients are already cooked, baking the casserole in the oven is just to marry the flavors and melt the cheese.
- Leftovers – This will keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
- Make ahead – To make this in advance, cover and refrigerate overnight but let it sit at room temperature on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking the next day. Depending on your oven, you may have to increase the cooking time by 5-10 minutes to account for it being baked from slightly chilled.
- Substitute chicken – Try using turkey or sausage instead of chicken.
- Make it smoky – Add a few shakes of smoked paprika for more flavor.
- Add a crumb topping – Combine melted butter with crushed Ritz crackers and bake as a topping for 10 minutes.
- Add more veggies – Bulk up the casserole with mushrooms or bell peppers.
- Add more flavor – Try adding some bacon bits or chorizo for even more flavor.
And that’s about it. Enjoy the casserole and let me know how you liked it, what substitutions you made, or what you paired it with in the comments below.
MORE CASSEROLES TO TRY
- Sour Cream Beef Noodle Casserole
- Meatball Pasta Bake
- Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole
- Mexican Ground Beef Casserole
- Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake